We will be starting our big barn this spring and Will needed 90 12-foot and 16-foot logs to use as support beams for the haymow floor. We didn’t have that many large trees on our place, and wouldn’t have wanted to cut them if we did. So we contacted a local small logger, Glen Erickson, and asked him if he might have anything we could use. He said he could cut them out of a stand of tamarack he and his son were cutting. Last week, he called to say they were cutting our logs and told us to be at his landing the next morning. So we hooked up our “new” triple-axle equipment trailer and headed for the logging site, about 16 miles away.
Some loggers butcher a woods, but Glen and his son make it look like a park! We were very impressed. He loaded our trailer up with our logs, two days running. And we’ll be going back the first of this week for another load or two. We are also buying some saw logs from him so we can buzz them up into floor boards for the hayloft and barn siding. He is only charging what the local pulp mill and chipboard mill pay, so we are getting by very inexpensively.
Another log-hauling job just finished for us, as well. As we are buying the 40 acres next to ours, we wanted to be able to start fencing this spring for all that tall grass “next door.” But steel posts are running more than $4.50 apiece! A neighbor and his sons are logging off a corner of their property and we asked him if he would have any tamarack fence posts to sell. He said he would and yesterday Will, David, and I hauled them in. Now we have this huge pile of logs, with more to come. How good it feels to have all this great material just waiting to make our homestead even greater than it is! We feel so blessed.
Awful goats milk
We have been keeping goats for decades and this is a first. Our best milking goat has begun producing milk that tastes positively rancid. She is fed and handled exactly like all the others, seems to be in perfect health and last year (first kidding) had no problems whatsoever. The only clue I can think of is that her full sister turned out to be a hermaphrodite.
My guess is that the doe may have a case of mastitis that does not show symptoms like bloody or clotted, stringy milk. Get an inexpensive California Mastitis Test kit, often found in the dairy section of ranch and farm stores. Test her milk two days running. The sister who was a hermaphrodite has nothing to do with her off-flavored milk. (This is often seen in doe goats that were the offspring of two naturally hornless parents. I’m talking about the hermaphrodite, not the off-flavored milk!) Other causes for one goat having bad-tasting milk and not the others could be: intestinal parasites, long belly and udder hair (causing bacteria to fall into the milk at milking time), and improper handling of the milk. Milk your goats, then immediately cool the milk in a sink full of ice water; don’t just refrigerate it. Most goats’ milk can stand a little improper handling; others just cannot and the milk tastes yucky. Clip her belly and udder hair with a pair of clippers, then be sure to wash her udder and rinse it before milking, every time. If she does show positive on her mastitis test, consult your veterinarian for treatment. Left untreated, it can eventually ruin the doe’s milk production. — Jackie
I recently received your cookbook and I just love it! I made your meatballs and used your sausage patty canning instructions too. I also canned some cheese and that is where my question comes in. I canned some cheddar and it seems to have canned up just fine. I also canned some mozzarella and it was great when I put it in the canner after I melted it. But, when I took it out of the canner, it was dark in color and when I opened it, it looks like bread with lots of holes in it. It is pretty dry but not disflavored. Do you think that I did something wrong? Is it possible to process it for less than an hour?
Sometimes, depending on the brand of mozzarella, it does get darker when processed. This is most noticeable when pressure canned, but does happen sometimes with water bathed cheese. It does still taste good; I prefer it to plain lighter cheese. It has the taste of the top of a pizza after baking. When I started canning cheese, I only processed it for 35 minutes, as I’d never done it before and had not read about anyone who had; I processed it for the time needed at that time to water bath tomato pints. Later, I read more and listened to others who were canning cheese and raised the processing time to 60 minutes, to be as safe as possible. — Jackie
I’ve seen a lot of recipes for canning pepperoncini’s but, I’d like your opinion instead of wasting a season or several seasons on trial and error. My goal would be preserving them like the kind you would buy whole and use for salads etc. in the grocery store.
I have had very good luck canning pepperoncinis by simply poking a few slits in them, then follow these directions:
1 gallon pepperoncinis
1 1/2 cups salt
1 gallon water
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 clove garlic
1 cup water
5 cups vinegar
Wash and drain peppers after slitting. Dissolve salt in 1 gallon cold water. Pour over peppers. Let stand overnight. Drain. Rinse. Drain again.
Add sugar, garlic, and 1 cup water to vinegar and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove garlic. Pack peppers into hot, sterilized jars. Heat pickling liquid to boiling. Pour boiling hot over peppers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Immediately place hot, previously simmered lids on jars and screw down rings firmly tight. I do not water bath my peppers as they will seal by themselves. If you are not comfortable with this old method, water bath them for 10 minutes. By water bathing the peppers, they will be softer than if they were packed raw and not heated. Mine have always been very good this way and I hope yours will be, too. — Jackie